Local primary care physicians are now able to offer vaccinations to their patients, with their first clinic at the offices in the former Niagara-on-the-Lake hospital site being held Wednesday.
Dr. Karen Berti says there will be two clinics this week, Wednesday and Thursday, for patients of all 11 doctors in the Niagara North Family Health Team.
While both clinics will be held at the Wellington Street site, they are by appointment only, for patients of both the Virgil and Old Town offices.
The two offices received a total of 330 doses Monday, and staff were going through their lists of patients in the 55 to 59 age group, who are not yet eligible for vaccinations at community clinics, to offer appointments, although a number of them have already been vaccinated elsewhere, says Berti.
On Tuesday morning, they had about 100 appointments booked, and she was expecting about 180 to 200 vaccinations would be administered over the two days.
The holdup, as with the pharmacies, is training staff on the provincial system for documenting the vaccinations, making the start-up a little slow until everyone is comfortable on it.
As well as looking for patients at higher risk in that age group, they are making a list of those who are homebound, and will have staff go out to administer shots next week to those who can’t get to Wellington Street, says Berti.
With primary care physicians part of the rollout of phase two vaccinations, the Niagara North Family Health Team was asked to participate, and all of the sites said yes, she says.
Berti and other doctors of the family health team have been “working behind the scenes” all along, she says, helping their patients get vaccination appointments at community clinics.
When the provincial online booking system opened to patients in the 80-year plus group, the doctors were allowed access codes to expedite the process for some of their patients, and could go online to book for those who were having difficulty doing it themselves.
“We were able to get the system going for them,” she says.